Making Money On Open Source Again

I wanted to bring this topic back again because I have an interesting take on it and it relates to the Libre Office discussion in episode 1x42.

One minute @jonobacon was talking about how he was using Libre Office for the Xprize stuff because it’s free and the next you guys are saying that they should charge money so the project can keep up with other office suites. You ether get a good office suite or you get a cheap office suite but you can’t have both. It sucks but money has to be made somehow.

This Libre Office situation highlights what I think is the core of the problem. It seems if the software itself is the product you can’t make money if it’s open source due to freedom #2. @bryanlunduke experiment a few years ago seems to support that claim. Because of this it seems to me that not all open source software should be open source.

Unless Libre Office gets their income from something other than the software itself, maybe a service or support (EX: Office 365 model), it will never keep up with MS Office and iWork.

I’d be interested in hearing what you guys think. Have I missed something? Is there a way to make money off open source software without a service or support being the source of income?

I’m still holding out for a billionaire to go loopy and give millions to

Who know’s maybe it’ll be me one day. :smirk:

It’s a human problem - because there is no actual contact with programmers via video link (they’re just too unsocial), then you can’t see where the money goes, hitherto there’s too much ‘magic’ involved for investors.

Well-- I may go to hell for suggesting it, but there’s always advertising.

I don’t have a strong opinion on the quality of LibreOffice (I’m not a heavy office suite user), but the consensus that I got from the panel seemed to be that, on the Desktop (besides the mac), it IS pretty good, despite being free.

The missing piece, though, is mobile. (and I think one or more people expressed a willingness to pay for a Libreoffice mobile app)

At my last job, about 1.5 years ago, I tried using Libre Office to replace MS Office because I wanted to use my Linux machine full time at work and quickly wound up going back to Windows an MS Office.

In my experience Libre Office has never been a good experience even on Linux. That could be because whenever I try to use it it’s primarily in an environment where all the docs I need to work on are in MS Office formats and not the open document formats.

One of my favorite features of MS Office is actually in Outlook. I can sign and encrypt emails with my smart card. I have not seen another email client do this.

Money is a pretty strong engine of progress. If it were not for the desire to earn money, the Wordpress would not exist now. All in my honest. Open source is the same business as selling Chinese. It is fast, not expensive and in many cases qualitatively. Personally, I work in a company that creates an open source program on order. And I can say that many people want their applications, but do not have the necessary knowledge to create such applications. So it’s just business, what’s wrong?

@Alexey_Porubay so, what’s your ideal solution here?

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I think there are 2 issues here:

  • Developers of open source software (applications?) making money.
  • Migrating between applications being a pain!

From what I can tell a lot of people don’t really want to use LibreOffice, they’re mostly happy with MS-Office, they just want a free version (possibly runs on Linux too).

While this is an interesting topic - its not universal that software projects are always judged based on their compatibility with the defacto-standard.
Most people wouldn’t for eg - reject a new video editor because it couldn’t load their projects perfectly from their current video-editor. Similar situation for 2D/3D animation tools (of course some basic compatibility is important, its just generally accepted you can’t move complex projects between applications for certain classes of software).

Just commenting on this since I think its a mistake to make out all software categories are as entrenched as MS-Office.

To reply to the OP, Not sure there are many good ways to make money besides services and support.

It’s interesting to see Krita crowd funding for continued development. Personally I think this works well early on (adding flashy features), but not so well for maintenance (when flashy features need to be updated or re-written :slight_smile: )

If this topic were re-visited in the podcast, it’d be interesting to have people from different projects to comment.

This is a great question, since it really touches on a couple of the hard points in Open Source philosophy. How do I make something, give it away, yet still make money?

There are a number of models, and misunderstanding them has led to a lot of grief for people who thought they were doing the right thing, and a lot of software which was not Open Source that probably should have been.

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Is it just me who’s suspicious of a post, which is this user’s first, with one link in it, which points to a blog post trying to describe what open source is, mentioning Sliding Tutorial, and it’s written by someone whose name looks suspiciously like the username of the posting user? And it’s re-opening a thread that’s been dead for months? And the blog belongs to a Ukrainian development company?

And it’s an indirect reply to another post by someone else with a similar name, re-opening a long dead thread, linking to a blog post trying to describe what open source is, co-incidentally mentioning Sliding Tutorial. And the blog belongs to a Ukrainian development company.

Or did no-one else catch that?

I take it there are other hats, then ?

To be fair, Discourse did flag this, but when I scanned it, it seemed ok. If we see anything spammy from this user, we can moderate as needed.


I was looking for a replacement to KISS and I found this video :giraffe:

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